Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hello? by Liza Wiemer

Hello? by Liza Wiemer
Release Date - November 10, 2015
Publisher Website - Spencer Hill Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
One HELLO? can change a life. One HELLO? can save a life.

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.

Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.

Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).
Hello? is the story of  moments, specifically moments that have the power to bring people together and those that can help people mend. Using a unique format, Liza Wiemer crafts a heartfelt tale of the beauty that can be found in the inexplicable ways we are tied to one another. Life is a series of moments, and Hello? shines a spotlight on why making them count matters.

This is a hard novel to review simply because you have to experience it. Part of what makes this book special is the experience of taking this journey with these characters. Allowing yourself to feel the emotions the writing brings out in you is what books like this are meant for and the pay off of not having that tainted is worth it.

A lot of heavy topics are covered within these pages and are done so with an openness that encourages conversation. There is a directness to the author's approach of these topics. The seriousness is present without veering into where they take over the novel. It's not an 'issues' novel. It's a novel in which the characters within grapple with things. It never feels like these issues are the character and this makes the story feel all the more authentic.

The effective use of multiple styles of narration to tell this story worked surprisingly well. It's not something I've encountered before, and it is this novel's defining feature. The use of the narration as a character trait was also incredibly well done. The style used for each character reflects not only their journey but offers an insight into who they are. Particularly impressive was Brenda's narration which is told in screenplay format. We learned so much about this character through a means that is not typically used, and doesn't lend itself naturally to character development. This narration style made sense for who Brenda is, and showed us her character in a way that any other narration would not have. All the narrations blend seamlessly together to create a cohesive whole and that is a direct result of how the story is shaped and crafted.

This is the kind of novel that, when you're done reading it, leaves you wanting to be a little kinder to those around you. The impact of a simple word could be life altering to the one hearing it. While there are heavy topics found within these pages, it's the feeling of hope that is the most powerful. It is what the author leaves you with, and what resonates the most. It makes you reflect and leaves you a little in awe of the chain reaction that can be created from the smallest of gestures. This novel celebrates those little connections and coincidences that seem so small, but that can end up being everything. A random moment of kindness can make all the difference to someone. An unknown connection can bring two people together. It reminds us of how small our world can be sometimes.

A uniquely written novel that is a must read for any fans of young adult contemporary novels. It showcases the power of human connections, and reminds us that a simple hello can change everything. Liza Wiemer is definitely one to watch in the contemporary genre and this book will leave you eager for whatever she happens to write next.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Kathy, for this fabulous review and for the beautiful blurb inside HELLO? Means so much to me. XXOO


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